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ecology archives 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9III-2004: 17 18 19 22 30 IV-2004: 19

update: don’t worry, it isn’t happening - thousands of idiots signed a petition, 50 million flies can’t be wrong

“It is not the only example. Along the Haute Route, which runs from Chamonix to Zermatt, we saw whole valleys, scoured and black, littered with the debris of broken rocks, left in their wake by steadily melting glaciers.”

“As an example of chronic and pig-headed frivolity, the snow machine has a lot to answer for. It is wasteful, energy-inefficient and environmentally indefensible. A single ski resort needs as much electricity as a small village just to keep its snowmaking systems going, and they are insatiable consumers of water. To cover one hectare (or 2.5 acres) of a snow slope, which may last less than a day, a snowmaking system needs 880 gallons of water; to cover all of the slopes in the Alps that have artificial snowmaking facilities, the annual demand has been estimated at 20 billion gallons of water, or enough to satisfy the needs of a city of 1.5 million inhabitants. Because alpine resorts are, despite their icy surroundings, often short of water, these precious supplies must either be stored on site or ferried up by helicopter. The Swiss, veteran users of airborne travel, favour the latter. The French dig reservoirs. The Austrians do both.”

Figures above taken from

Climate Change in the European Alps
$32.00 [] {advert}

ISBN-10: 9264031685
ISBN-13: 978-9264031685

Climate xchange in the European Alps - OECD

marker at

expending energy to counteract global warming

image credit:
image credit

“[...] snow production [is] possible whatever the ambient temperature may be, below-and above-zero. The snow production plant comes in the form of a container combining all the refrigeration, electrical and mechanical elements required for its operation.”

The technique involves producing very small pieces of dry flake-ice and spraying it in the form of crystals on the ski slopes to form a covering of snow.”

A ‘snow’-generating machine, as used at Pyrenees ski resorts in France [web page in French], costs about $270,000/£150,000, and can produce 55 cubic metres of ‘snow’ a day, using 50KWh of electricity for every cubic metre. In Japan, more powerful machines are used that generate 180 to 300 cubic metres a day.

“In Japan, the [...] machines are used to produce snow in warmer temperatures. A number of ski runs are kept open for five months of the year in regions of limited natural snowfall.”

“Ski resorts can therefore schedule the opening dates for their pistes, guarantee snow even in periods of mild weather and overcome wear by rebuilding a layer of quality, skiable snow overnight.”

snow ploughs - image credit:
image credit

But this is not all. Snow management teams work through every night on the pistes with strings of snow ploughs, pushing back up the slope the ‘snow’ that has been dragged down by skiers during the day.

Snow ploughs are very expensive, and both they and the ‘snow’ generators require replacing every five or six years.

What appears to escape all concerned is that the energy-burning actions for ‘managing’ the pistes are now being taken to counteract the effects of global warming, while, at the same time, these very actions will cause further global warming.

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This energy consumption, described so far, does not include that of the several hundreds of thousands of consumers who drive long distances each year, in order to slide down the snow plough-tidied artifical snow on planks strapped to their feet, while chancing broken limbs.


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